Super Rugby

Smith returns for Highlanders against Waratahs

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Highlanders Super Rugby head coach Tony Brown has named his team to play the Waratahs in Dunedin and included All Black fullback Ben Smith.

Highlanders co-captain Smith returns to the starting side after a three week break for injury to play his record equalling 127th game for the Highlanders.

Smith stands beside former Highlanders captain Anton Oliver as the clubs most capped player.

Also returning from injury is number eight Luke Whitelock meaning a shift for Elliot Dixon to the blindside while Aki Seiuli and Siate Tokolahi retain the starting spots in the front row.

Waisake Naholo returns on the right wing, replacing Patrick Osborne, after serving his one game suspension last week. The bench has an experienced look to it with regular starters Ash Dixon, Siosuia Halanukonuka,Daniel Lienert-Brown,Joe Wheeler,Lima Sopoaga and Rob Thompson all included.

Head Coach Tony Brown is delighted to be back home after three weeks on the road “it’s always good to be home under the roof in front of our home fans, especially after being away for so long. I know the players are all really looking forward to the challenge against a Waratahs side that includes so many Wallaby players, it should be a good contest.”

Shane Christie, James Lentjes, Liam Squire, Greg Pleasants-Tate (Out for the season: Jason Emery, Hayden Parker) were all unnavailable for selection due to injury.

Highlanders

1. Aki Seiuli, 2. Liam Coltman, 3. Siate Tokolahi, 4. Alex Ainley, 5. Tom Franklin, 6. Elliot Dixon, 7. Dillon Hunt, 8. Luke Whitelock, 9. Aaron Smith, 10. Marty Banks, 11. Tevita Li, 12. Richard Buckman, 13. Malakai Fekitoa, 14. Waisake Naholo, 15. Ben Smith ( cc )

Replacements : 16. Ash Dixon (cc), 17. Daniel Lienert-Brown, 18. Siosuia Halanukonuka, 19. Joe Wheeler, 20. Gareth Evans, 21. Kayne Hammington, 22. Lima Sopoaga, 23. Rob Thompson

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